SS Peter & Paul, Appledore, St Mary the Virgin, Stone, All Saints, Woodchurch, St John the Baptist, Wittersham and St Mary the Virgin, Ebony
It was when Alison, who lives in East Sussex, ‘crossed the border’ to worship in the Appledore ‘Cluster’ on the Romney Marsh, she heard the ‘still small voice’ of her vocation. Alison explains: “Perhaps it was something to do with all those wandering sheep, looking as though they needed some ‘shepherding’, that prompted me to hear my calling, or more likely it was the encouragement of my new church family.” Alison attended a Vocations Day, and began to explore a number of different ministries.
With a background of primary school teaching, it is perhaps not surprising that Reader Ministry, with its emphasis on preaching, teaching and leading worship, felt like a homecoming to Alison.
Alison, found the training challenging and exhilarating. She commented: “Doesn’t Jesus tell us that the cost of discipleship involves leaving ‘father and mother, wife and children’ (Lk 14:25), and that, as preachers of the word, we should take no ‘purse or bag or sandals for the journey’ (Lk 10:4)? Training with LMTS has involved elements of all these. Families have regularly been abandoned, (albeit only for short periods!), holidays delayed, and housework neglected. But I have been guided and mentored by the generosity of my family, and my fellow students; and always embraced by the love of that same God who accompanied Abraham into the desert.”
Urging others to consider training for ministry, Alison says: “I have sometimes wondered why my ‘call’ came later in life – all those wasted years! In retrospect, I realise that they were not wasted but an opportunity to gain experience which would help to equip me for the service I have to offer. I would urge anyone in a similar position not to reject the idea of training for ministry simply on grounds of age!”
Alison is looking forward to her role as Reader: “I hope that I will be able to share the teaching which I have received. Whilst being an enormous responsibility, the chance to communicate something of the delight and richness of the Gospels through Preaching will be a privilege and a joy. Above all else, I look forward to a ministry which encourages others to see more clearly the God of faith who beckons us all into the unknown future.”